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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

The Story of the Alphabet               85
side by side with the ordinary one Once you have mastered the key
to this phonetic spelling you know how to pronounce a foreign word,
however fantastic its spelling may be If your dictionary uses the
International Phonetic Alphabet you may find at the beginning a list
incorporating the two on pp. 83 and 84 respectively. With the help
of this key you are able to pronounce the following French words even
if you do not know any French,
bte           (be t)                         commerce  (komsrs)
bord           (tor)                           f<d6r        (federe)
chaine        (Js*n)                            plaine         (pis n)
clocher       (kbje)                            prix            (pn)
toute    (tut)
A bird's-eye view of visual language, in contradistinction to that
of the ear, would be distorted if it took in nothing but the evolution
of signs used in ancient stone inscriptions, manuscripts or modern
books, and newspapers. Visual communication may be of two kinds,
transient or persistent The first includes gesture which reinforces daily
speech, and the several types of gestural language respectively used for
communication between deaf and dumb people, or in military and
naval signalling. Signalling may be of two types Like deaf and dumb
gesture language, it may depend on human movements which recall
symbols used in alphabetic writing Signalling by flag-displays based
on codes is like logographic writing The signs used by bookies or hotel
porters are a logographic gesture-script.
Codes used in telegraphy overlap the territories of audible communi-
cation, visual communication which is transient, and visual communi-
cation for permanent record Like the Ogam script, it depends on the
alphabet, and, since each alphabet symbol is made up of long or short
strokes like prolonged or sharp taps, the same system serves equally
well for recognition by eye, ear, or tactile sensation, A two-stroke
system of this kind is a mechanical necessity dictated by the design of
the first telegraphs to take advantage of the fact that a magnetic needle
turns right or left in accordance with the direction of an electric current.
The inventors of the telegraphic codes lived in a less leisurely age than
the Ogam stone-masons, and took full advantage of the possibility of
varying the order in which it is possible to arrange a limited number of
strokes of two different types (Fig 19). Like Ogam script a telegraphic
code is swttble for purely tactile recognition by the bluid^ who were